MTW Top 50 Tech Leaders

Building on from our first NW Top 50 Tech Leaders List in 2022, we've spent the past year keeping an eye out for the digital innovators we believe should be celebrated for the way they are powering the Northern Tech Revolution. 

Adam Lindsay, Director of Business Operations, Groupon

As Director of Business Operations, Adam Lindsey is responsible for all operational aspects of the Groupon merchant and customer experience, after initially starting as a first-level CS agent over a decade ago. Adam now has a wealth of global experience in the e-commerce industry, with a user first perspective on every initiative after spending time with Groupon in Manchester, India, Berlin and South Africa. Throughout his time at Groupon, Adam has become known as a driving force for positive change for those around him and the wider business, through collaboration and coordination of diverse teams and strategies.

Adeel Ejaz, Group Technology Director, Boohoo Group

Leading Boohoo and Pretty Little Things digital innovation teams, Adeel Ejaz is Group Technology Director. As a hands-on technology leader with 15 years experience, Ejaz continues to develop the technology infrastructure needed to support the business' rapid growth and digital-first nature. Under Adeel’s leadership, the Boohoo Group is currently exploring the role of robotic process automation and embarking on a new AI Machine learning journey. In managing to build and innovate a scalable and agile tech stack, Adeel has enabled Boohoo to pioneer technology for e-commerce and continue to break records within the industry.

Alison Hughes, Assistant Director ICT, Digital and Customer, Liverpool City Council

Alison Hughes has built an exceptional network across the public sector, throughout her work over the last 15 years at Bolton and Wigan and more recently Liverpool City Council over the last three years. She has become a trusted advisor to many authorities on driving business change through the use of ICT and digital transformation. A particular project of note was when she headed up a unique relationship on behalf of the Bolton & Wigan Partnership, where they utilise AI, machine learning, chatbots and voice activated devices to tackle the challenges of the council and their 600,000 citizens in the region. Alison has continuously contributed to professional networks for leaders in local public service, sharing her extensive expertise.

Ben McLoughlin, Head of Data Science and ML, webuyanycar

Dr Ben McCloughlin is the Head of Data Science and Machine Learning at, where he has worked for over four years in various data science roles. Ben is known as a technically experienced leader who specialises in unlocking commercial value from data and AI. Headquartered in Greater Manchester, WeBuyAnyCar uses real-time data to strengthen customer relationships as they continue to re-design the company's data architecture for next generation data initiatives. Under Ben's leadership, leveraging data science in the right way has enabled webuyanycar to model price elasticity and provide for more intelligent decision making.

Brian Simpson, Product Owner - Chief Technology Office, Lloyd's Bank

Brian Simpson has worked at Lloyds Banking Group for twenty six years, spending more than four of those within the Chief Technology Office. Sharing over two decades of his expertise, Brian has significantly contributed to building the skills capability within Lloyd's engineering and technology communities, creating an environment where digital talent can continuously develop. Brian also organises public events to share the technology stories of the bank with the wider tech community, whilst raising the profile of the Chief Technology Office.

Cara Afzal, Associate Director for Transformation, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Cara Afzal has worked in transforming Manchester's healthcare and technology systems for over a decade, across acute, mental health, primary and social care, and local government. She is currently leading the largest EPR (electronic patient record) implementation programme in the UK, at one of the largest acute healthcare Trusts. The Hive programme covers 10 hospitals and has already begun to report significant benefits to operational efficiency and the quality of care delivered by the Trust, just 7 months after its launch, with the new ‘clinically led and digital enabled' initiative. Cara leads on 4 out of the 10 sites and is known for her ambitious nature and role in transforming Greater Manchester's digital healthcare landscape, where she has been a dynamic leader.

Cheryl Stevens, Director of Shared Channel Experience, DWP Digital

Cheryl Stevens has been a proud civil servant for 20 years, undertaking a variety of leadership and transformation roles. Since April 2020, she has been the Director of Shared Channels Experiences, building a new team in the midst of the first lockdown. The SCE team totals around 500 staff focused on understanding user needs and how best to meet them, a core goal of Cheryl’s across her career. She is a huge advocate for inclusivity within her team, aiming to create a place where you can bring your whole self to work and seeks to bring out the best in every team member. A winner of the 2022 SheInspires ‘Women in STEM’ award for inspiring others, she is a passionate role model across DWP Digital and particularly looks to lift other women up in digital.

David Igoe, Director of Engineering,

David Igoe is the Director of Engineering, at AO, the Bolton-headquartered online electricals retailer. Igoe has spent over 10 years as part of their technology team and throughout this time, has become known for his ability to turn budget into business value, by building agile product teams. Outside of his role in the leadership team at AO, David organises the Tech Leads North West meetup group and is part of the Mentoring Club, empowering leaders by giving them the tools and practices to build better teams and have better conversations.

Diane Roland, Head of Cloud & Platform, N Brown Group

Diane Roland has worked in the technology function at N Brown Group for over two decades, now working as the Head of Cloud and Platform. Diane is known for her work in making N Brown a modern and agile business, after noting that the organisation had previously been constrained by its legacy e-commerce. Roland oversaw and executed an extremely successful migration to the cloud, which has since seen greater resilience for the business, whilst reducing infrastructure costs. This has since helped drive the growth of the N Brown online business, responding to customer demands at pace.

Edson Ferreira, Director of Engineering & Delivery, Experian

Edson Ferreira is the Director of Engineering and Delivery at Experian, who is passionate about building, serving and inspiring high-performance Software Engineering Teams and digital products. He has worked at the organisation for two years, after working for Lloyds Bank and Reckitt over the last eight years. Edson is known for being highly skilled in setting and delivering business objectives and driving revenue growth through strategic initiatives.

Gemma Paterson, Head of People Development Experiences & Innovation, Legal & General

As a strategic people, culture and change leader on a mission to 'make work feel more like real life', Gemma Paterson hopes to create an iconic employee experience that empowers people to do their most brilliant work at Legal and General. Throughout the last two decades, Gemma has contributed to cultural change at HSBC, BP and Aviva. In her current role, Paterson is developing a capability strategy, in order to build data, digital, agile & sustainability capabilities throughout the organisation. Gemma's work is known for its impactful contribution in driving performance, acquisition, retention and talent mobility.

Heather Bedson-Mansell, Head of Information Security, BPP

Heather Bedson-Mansell is the Head of Information Security at BPP, after working at Sykes Cottages and Survitec Group. Heather leads the cyber security function, for the education and training provider, managing their compliance and threat landscape. Outside of her role, Heather is also part of the Government Cyber Security Advisory Board, sharing her expertise to aid implementing the Government's Cyber Security Strategy.

Heena Mistry, Chief Digital Officer, United Utilities

Heena Mistry has spent almost 2.5 years at United Utilities as the Chief Digital Officer, with the aim of delivering the company’s ambition to become a “digital utility company”. Mistry is known to be a dynamic senior IT executive and she has successfully implemented complex transformation programmes for global organisations such as Rolls Royce, G4S, Harsco Environmental and Babcock international, in over 40 countries. In her current role, she has a strong reputation for her balanced mix of understanding the importance of customer satisfaction and embracing leading technology to ensure that the service United Utilities deliver goes consistently above and beyond.

Jon Mattey, Head of Cyber Security, Sykes Cottages

Jon Mattey leads the Cyber Security team at Cheshire-headquartered holiday company, Sykes Cottages, where he joined the team in 2023. Mattey has a plethora of experience delivering crucial security programmes for critical national infrastructure, where he led the security operations function for a number of years. Jon has a passion for building high performing cyber security teams and a positive security culture, which he hopes to bring to Sykes Cottages, whilst tackling a different set of security concerns within a new technology environment.

Kellie Birmingham, Head of Technology and Data Strategy, The Royal British Legion

Kellie Birmingham is the Head of Technology and Data Strategy at the Royal British Legion, where she has worked for almost three years. Kellie is known for her exceptional leadership and extensive expertise on tactical and strategic programmes and complex transitions over the last decade. She is leading the Royal British Legion's Strategic IT Business Partners and IT Project Managers providing the golden thread between organisational strategy and technology enabled transformation for the charity.

Loretta Franks, Chief Data & Analytics Officer, Kellogg Company

Loretta Franks is the VP, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at Kellogg Company, where she has worked in 13 positions throughout her 16 years at Kellogg – from finance and project management roles, to change programs and enterprise-wide transformations, and now, data and analytics. Loretta is known for her clear strategic priorities and data vision for Kellogg company; a future fit organisation; digitally powered people; and trusted and enriched data, to enable the organisation's growth strategy. Franks is also a strong advocate for leading diverse teams and encouraging more women and girls to consider careers in STEM.

Lorna Allen, Chief Digital & Information Officer, Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust

Lorna Allen is Chief Digital and Information Officer at Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust. Allen is a senior IT Leader with over 20 years’ experience across a wide range of business sectors including financial services, legal, telecommunications, oil & gas and heavy industries. Lorna has been recognised for her important and meaningful contribution to the IT team at Stepchange Charity for over three years, providing free digital debt services to over six million people a year. She is now working within the public sector, with aims to drive a culture of change and digitisation, and digital literacy initiatives.

Maja Borota-Nedic, Senior Director Of Engineering,

With over 27 years' experience in the tech industry, Maja has spent five years managing a highly entrepreneurial software engineering function at Maja is a strong advocate for an inclusive technology industry, having been the only woman in her teams for many years, often speaking on the topic at industry events and also working closely with talent programmes in the business. With a passion for technology, innovation and agile delivery, coupled with a strong belief in people development, Maja is excited by the face paced progression at and also within the technology industry in Manchester.

Mari Thornman, Head of EU & UK IT Architecture - Commercial Banking, HSBC

Mari Thorman is the Head of EU and UK IT Architecture, for Commercial Banking at HSBC. Thorman manages a team of architects in UK, Germany, France and EU, whilst also founding a working group to establish best practice and business benefit realisation for API-led Architecture across CMB globally. In addition to her more technical role, Mari is the Co-Chair of the Mindful Workplace Community, which provides resources and support to colleagues who would like to learn more about or gain help with mindfulness practices. There are now over 2500 members of the community, providing a safe space for colleagues throughout the business; as part of this Mari has represented HSBC on the Government backed Mindful Nation sub group.

Michael Smith, Interim Chief Technology Officer, MoneySupermarketGroup

Michael Smith is the Chief Technology Officer at Moneysupermarket Group, after working for many years at organisations including Barclays, Autotrader and Bank of America. Leading over 80 members of the technology team at Moneysupermarket, Michael is known for his advocacy of diversity of thought within technology teams, and his 'trial, assess, adopt' mentality, when it comes to implementing new technologies to the Moneysupermarket toolstack.

Mick Ebsworth, Director of Information Security, Co-Op

Mick Ebsworth is the Director of Information Security, at the Co-Op, after previously leading Infosec teams at Costa Coffee, The Post Office, Capgemini and AXA. With well over 25 years of experience in Information Security Management, Governance and Risk, Mick has proven he is highly skilled at defining security operating models, managing risks within appetite, and security acting as an enabler for business success and growth.

Mivy James, Director of Transformation, BAE Systems

Mivy James has been working within IT for over 25 years, with experience at IBM, Novell and Standard Life, before joining BAE systems Applied Intelligence in 2005. Mivy has led numerous government department transformation projects, for cutting edge technology research and the strategic design of multi-billion pound programmes. James is a keen advocate for encouraging women to follow careers in the IT profession, and she is the founder & chair of Applied Intelligence's gender balance network.

Mo Tagari, Chief Technology Officer, AJ Bell

With over 20 years experience in the finance sector, in 2019 Mo Tagari took the role of Chief Technology Officer at AJ Bell. He has worked to grow the team and continue expanding, leveraging the huge opportunity within AJ Bell for innovation. Seeing failure as simply an opportunity to learn, Mo is passionate about trying out new ideas and remaining nimble. He believes in collaboration, not consensus, welcoming ideas from across teams and functions.

Nawal Arshad, VP Programme Management, Barclays

Formerly at United Utilities, Nawal Arshad joined Barclays in November 2017. In her role as Vice President, Nawal works in the IT division and alongside product owners leading on the delivery of transformation projects. Nawal has been fundamental in ensuring that the right IT solutions and topologies are implemented and that these match the overall objectives and needs of the business. Several projects include leveraging technology to improve customer experience and open banking. Nawal is also a strong advocate for diversity and women empowerment and supports several initiatives to help organisations take the right steps to embrace diversity and equity.

Nick Latocha, Global Lead, Data & Analytics, Brambles

Nick Latocha has a long and varied career in the data space, currently taking the lead on Global Data & Analytics at Brambles. Aiming to stay at the forefront of the data revolution, he is passionate about combining the best talent with the best technologies to deliver commercial value through data products. A believer in the value of diverse teams, he looks to nurture talent from different backgrounds and experiences, encouraging them to challenge the status quo. As a mentor, speaker and podcast co-host for The Data Pubcast, he tries to give back to the data and analytics community regularly.

Paul Hornby, Digital Customer Experience Director, The Very Group

Paul Hornby is Digital Customer Experience (DCX) Director at The Very Group. Paul lead's a range of product-focussed agile squads with the goal of giving customers a truly seamless digital experience across all mobile and online touchpoints, for the £2.3 billion e-commerce company. Paul is known as an exceptional leader, who is strong technically and truly understands how The Very Group ticks, after working there for over 14 years throughout his career. After significant investment over the last 12 months, the transformation of their ecommerce platform is well underway and by 2024, the migration to the new MACH platform will enable better customer experience delivery than ever.

Rachel Anne Jones, Chief Information Officer, HMRC

Rachel Anne Jones is the Chief Information Officer at HMRC, where she has worked for over four years in the role. Rachel has overseen and executed numerous projects for the government department which have transformed the data and technology function for employees and users alike. Rachel is a fierce advocate for increasing the number of women in tech leadership roles, often speaking publicly about the challenges and barriers she has faced within her own career and how organisations can take tangible action to increase representation within the technology industry.

Risk Alkunshalie, Head of Technology, Manchester Airports Group

Having spent over 7 years working at the Manchester Airport Group (MAG), Risk Alkunshalie (who has been Head of Technology - Enterprise since April 2020) has directed several digital transformation initiatives and has built and led an impressive team to deliver greater agility, mobility and flexibility to the way MAG colleagues work, communicate and collaborate. Risk excels in driving delivering complex IT programmes and advancing innovation projects whilst ensuring speed and cost-efficiency remain at the forefront.

Rob Black, Technology Director, Beauty Bay

Rob Black is a technology leader with over 20 years’ experience across the travel and retail sector. With a strong history of developing and delivering IT strategy transformation at both speed and scale, he joined Beauty Bay in 2021 becoming the Technology Director in 2022. Rob is passionate about team culture, focusing his team around an important question: What do they want to be known for across the company? A strong believer in being a trusted partner to the business, his team looks to actively embrace new technology and deliver a competitive advantage. He also nurtures an environment of collaboration, with a zero-blame culture encouraging everyone to drive towards a common goal and live by the team values.

Verosha Maharaj, Chief Information Security Officer, Vitality Global

As Chief Information Security Officer, Verosha Maharaj leads Vitality Global's security team and operations, where she has worked for over seven years, in both their Johannesburg and Manchester offices. With over 30 million members worldwide in 40 markets, Verosha leads the organisation's information security strategy, to ensure the safety and security of their customers, and their personal data.

Amelia Bampton, Managing Consultant, Infinity Works

After senior roles at Codurance, Thoughtworks and Vodafone, Amelia Bampton joined Infinity Works, part of Accenture, as a Managing Consultant in 2022. Amelia is a passionate advocate for driving greater inclusion, accessibility and diversity in technology, with a particular focus on helping break down barriers to entry in the industry. When she’s not collaborating in the office, she can be found hosting the C2 Coffee & Collaboration hot-desk club or bringing people together monthly on Thursdays for her professional book club.

Amul Batra, Co-Founder & Chief Partnerships Officer, Northcoders

Amul Batra finds his passion in educating the brightest Junior Software Developers and helping them to find roles across numerous Northern companies, including JaguarLandRover, Barclays, BAE, MoneySupermarket and Sky. As Co-Founder and Chief Partnership Officer, Amul is passionate about the continued growth of Northcoders with a thriving network of 700 software developers trained in just the last four years. A Board Advisor for InnovateHer, he is an advocate for increased diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. He also spent twenty years in the music industry running a record label.

Annette Joseph MBE, Founder & CEO, Diverse & Equal

Annette Joseph is an award-winning Agile Coach and Founder of Diverse & Equal. She strives to improve innovation in tech by increasing the number of talented Black people and people of colour in the industry. Through taster sessions, bootcamps and skill-building, Annette equips adults from under-represented groups with the skills needed to thrive in their careers in tech. She is also the lead behind research and initiatives aiming to empower organisations to create inclusive environments to realise the full business benefits of diversity.

Beckie Taylor, Co-Founder & CEO, Tech Returners

Beckie Taylor is Co-Founder to two thriving communities, TechReturners and the Confidence Community. As an executive coach with over 18 years of HR and people development experience, she has been instrumental in helping women build careers in tech. Through TechReturners, Beckie helps women find their way back to tech roles after career breaks. While the Confidence Community helps to empower individuals to transform their confidence, and in turn their careers. She is also a proud mum to Ethan and Emmie.

Ben Higgin, Head of Technology & Investments, PwC

After starting his career in audit, Ben Higgin has spent 15 years at PwC becoming the Head of Technology & Investments. With a passion for bridging the digital skills gap, Ben creates a culture of inclusivity and openness to tech. His work is helping PwC and their clients to thrive in the face of rapid technological change, enabling them to be human-led and tech-powered. Ben is also an active advocate for mental health, having supported the Samaritans for many years as a listening volunteer.

Chi-chi Ekweozor, Founding Member, Fund Her North

Chi-chi Ekweozor is a former social media marketer turned software engineer. Unsurprisingly, she has combined her experience delivering marketing strategy for large, influential organisation with deep technical expertise to launch Attendist. Chi-chi is also working to tackle the many barriers facing female entrepreneurs accessing investment as a founding member of Fund Her North. She works to create spaces for collaboration and connection, running #FemaleTechFounder, a monthly meetup in Manchester.

Jenny Radcliffe, Author, The People Hacker

Jenny Radcliffe is a burglar for hire, a professional con artist and an educator in the social engineering space. Between her recent best selling book, The People Hacker, the podcast of the same name, and the newly announced TV series, Jenny makes the dark underbelly of cyber criminals accessible to the masses. Her thought leadership aims to help prevent people from becoming victims of malicious social engineering and guard them against cyber attacks in their personal and professional lives.

Katie Gallagher, Managing Director, Manchester Digital

After spearheading growth as business development director, Katie Gallagher took on the role of Managing Director for Manchester Digital. Coming up to 12 years with the team, Katie has led the delivery of a talent and skills programme helping hundreds of NW businesses recruit and retain digital talent. She has grown membership and engagement, helping build a highly collaborative hub. Katie has also championed women in digital with the MentorHER programme, offering support for women new to the tech industry to ensure they build lasting careers in the space.

Lou Cordwell OBE, Chair, GM Local Enterprise Partnership

Lou Cordwell is the founder of digital design studio magneticNorth (mN). In 2021, a partnership with Fluxx, birthed Magnetic, an innovation powerhouse where Lou is Chief Creative Officer. She is an active participant in the wider tech ecosystem, as the Chair of the GM Local Enterprise Partnership, leading on communications, digital broadcasting and the skills fund. Lou is also a passionate campaigner for gender equality in business and tech, and a founding investor in AllBright.

Sam Booth, Chief Executive, pro-manchester

After taking on the role of Chief Executive after 15 years of service, Sam Booth has spearheaded growth for pro-manchester, helping bring businesses together across the region. Whether it’s an industry sector lunch, a trailblazing tech conference or a highly anticipated awards, Sam creates space to highlight the inspiring work of northern tech leaders, helping them to connect and collaborate. Sam also sits on the board of trustees for Forever Manchester, a charity supporting community activity across the region.

Adam Thomason, CloudOps Manager, Beauty Bay

As the CloudOps Manager for Beauty Bay, Adam Thomason sets out the vision and direction for cloud infrastructure. Adam is currently leading a project to combine metrics, alerts and observability to a single source of truth within New Relic from applications, infrastructure and on-prem workloads. He has been instrumental in the DevOps journey at Beauty Bay, whether that is challenging established processes, encouraging the adoption of agile approaches or always being ready to pivot plans.

Clare Bacchus, Lead, The Design House, Barclays

Clare Bacchus currently Leads the Design House at Barclays, setting out to create the perfect colleague experience. She is passionate about creating spaces where colleagues can bring their whole selves to the office, not just their work selves. Clare takes a hospitality based appraoch to curated services, pushing Barclays to break away from the traditional office routine in the quest for greater workplace wellbeing. She is proud to deliver the unexpected, defying expectations people may have about what it is like to work in the financial sector. For Clare, small and simple considerations can be the difference in making team members feel like they belong.

Clare Cassidy, Lead Architect, NHS England

With a career spanning over 30 years, Clare Cassidy currently brings her deep technical expertise to NHS England as their Lead Architect. Clare is leading a regional team behind the delivery of IT transformation across Share2Care, designing a digital cloud platform for a population of 4.2 million citizens. Adept at combining business and technical requirements, she is working to enhance citizen care and experience. Outside of work, she can be found running courses for Power Boat and Jet Biking.

Graham Pollitt, IT Infrastructure Director, MAG (Airports Group)

Graham Pollitt has been a driving force behind a £35M technology modernisation programme and a full infrastructure transformation across three airports as the IT Infrastructure Director at MAG. Graham is adept at being able to identify quick wins, while also building foundations for long-term incremental gains. With a wide range of stakeholders to work alongside for such a large-scale transformation, Graham has worked hard to build trust, demonstrate integrity, communicate openly and fulfil ambitious commitments.

Heather Driscoll, Lead Architect, DWP Digital

As a Lead Architect, Heather Driscoll has led the charge to support the wider transformation of DWP’s services by exposing the rich dataset held in legacy services. Known for empowering her team, she has delivered an impressive proof of concept project to build an API capability for legacy applications. Thanks to Heather’s foresight, drive and willingness to experiment, claimants are already seeing benefits with a real-time API in place already for Motability claimants supporting disabled people.

John Wallworth, Information Security Officer, System C Healthcare

John Wallworth has over 25 years experience across the IT space, in both public and private sectors. Recently taking on the role of Information Security Officer at System C Healthcare, John is passionate about keeping vital services safe and secure to ensure they can effectively help others. He aims to deliver this by introducing a service based way of working in the cyber security world. When not in the office, he can be found at a Northern Infosec Leaders event debating the intricacies of cyber strategy or showing photos of his dog, Homer.

Lianne Potter, Head of SecOps, Asda

Lianne Potter is currently Head of SecOps for the largest greenfield technology transformation project in Europe, taking place at Asda. Building an edge security team from scratch, she is working to bring together best practices with cutting-edge innovations. She is passionate about leveraging her experience as a cyber-anthropologist to combine the human with the technical, creating better security cultures. Lianne also acts as a Board Member for Women in Leeds Digital helping encourage women and diverse groups to consider digital roles.

Paul Thomas, Head of Cyber Security, Recover, The Co-Op Bank

With a long tenure in cybersecurity and infrastructure, Paul Thomas now handles Cyber Security Recover for The Co-Operative Bank. A keen writer, he has produced guides to help the next generation of cyber professionals prepare for certifications, as well as books to guide senior leaders on cyber defence strategy. His regular blogs take a look at everything from crypto scammers, romance fraud, bank robberies and ransomware payments.

Richard Moore, Head of IT Strategy & Architecture, AJ Bell

Richard Moore is the Head of IT Strategy and Architecture at AJ Bell, where he has worked his way up through the technology team for over 15 years. Richard is responsible for leading Architecture, Platform Engineering, Data Streaming, Application Security and Agile Practices at AJ Bell, where he collaborates with the CTO and technology leadership team in this role to set and execute the company's technology vision. Richard has recently led a large project to de-couple AJ Bell product applications from back-office systems using Streaming ETL, and Integration Data Hub approaches, to increase the pace of delivery and improve business resilience.

Zuleikha Karolia, Program Manager, Kellogg Company

As a Program & Change Manager for the Global IT Development programme at Kelloggs Company, Zuleikha is at the forefront of process improvement and people development for a thriving IT Function. Known as a highly passionate individual who seeks out a challenge, she has advocated for accessibility working in a team to add NaviLens codes to cereal packaging to help visually impaired customers. She also launched YODA (Year of Development Always), an initiative to build a learning culture and help each employee find new development opportunities, via job shadowing, journey mapping and Growth.Fest sessions.